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KEYNOTE: Digital Skills & Diversity: Planning for the future

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About this talk

Having a diverse team with the right digital skills will be integral to the success of tech businesses in our region. In this panel, we will discuss how best to improve the digital literacy of our people and talk about how we can create a more diverse workforce.

In this session we will hear from:

  • Lee Jones, PS Digital Skills Lead UK at Microsoft

  • Chris Meah, Founder & CEO, School of Code

  • Marika Beckford, Digital Skills Officer, West Midlands Combined Authority

  • Oyinkansola Adebayo, CEO & Co-Founder, Niyo Enterprises and Black Codher

Between them they will discuss and debate:

  • How we can narrow the digital skills gap across the West Midlands

  • How businesses can create more diverse and collaborative teams

  • What digital skills are needed the most to stimulate productivity and our economy

  • The role of businesses and the public sector in upskilling people

  • The barriers preventing us from achieving more and what needs to change

Marika Beckford

Marika leads on the West Midlands Digital Skills Partnership, connecting industry to education, she is an experienced tech leader helping to build the Silicon Canal tech community in Birmingham and developer of the Digital Shapers UK blog network. Marika is passionate about the use of technology for civic and social good and co-developed the Tech Talent Charter ‘Employee and Allyship 2020 Toolkit’ championing diversity and inclusion across the tech industry. #shapethefuture

Lee Jones

Lee Jones is the Public Sector Digital Skills Lead at Microsoft, where she works to deliver the Microsoft Digital Skills programs across the UK. In her role, she supports employees, individuals, and the next generation of talent. The key priority of Lee’s role is to ensure that everyone has the digital skills to achieve more in in the new world of work. Lee is absolutely passionate about driving digital skills across both the public sector and into communities to ensure no-one is left behind as the Tech Intensity continues to accelerate.

Chris Meah

Chris Meah’s aim is to push technology forwards to benefit everyone. Through the School of Code, he’s helping to change the way people learn to code, making it fun, social, and accessible to everyone. His School of Code Bootcamp is a free 16-week coding course which takes people from absolute scratch all the way through to professional developer and helps them into jobs. Their online prototype platform has seen over 100k users play and learn coding skills. Chris’ background is in AI, Computer Vision, and Biomedical Imaging. He completed his PhD and MSc at the University of Birmingham and graduated top of the class for BSc in AI and Computer Science.

Oyinkansola Adebayo

Oyinkansola runs a multi-faceted organization called Niyo enterprise, a company that specializes in using creative tools such as hair, beauty, tech and community development to economically empower black women. This organisation currently has two brands: Niyo Hair and Beauty and Niyo Network. Niyo Hair and Beauty is a technology-driven mobile afro hair and beauty service that services 350 clients across the midlands whilst economically empowering hairstylists. Niyo Network exists to economically empower black women to pursue their business ideas and career aspirations. She is currently empowering 50 black women to become full-stack developers through the “black codher” bootcamp project, one of the projects under Niyo network. Her work has been recognised in BBC News, The Voice, Metro, Black Beauty and Hair Magazine, Nottingham Post and many more. She has a BA in Economics and Management from Nottingham Business School and an MSc in Development Economics. She is particularly passionate about addressing poverty especially amongst black women and using disruptive and high-value tools to transform the lives of black women across the world through helping black women secure employment opportunities that would have been just a dream without the skills and tools we would have provided them.

Learn from amazing companies like these

Niyo Enterprises
West Midlands Combined Authority
School of Code

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